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10-year guidelines on endangered species soon
Published on: Friday, November 22, 2019
By: Sherell Jeffrey

Kota Kinabalu: THE State Tourism, Culture and Environment expects to launch its guidelines on the management of Sabah’s endangered species for a 10-year period from 2020 soon. 

Its Minister, Datuk Christina Liew, in her winding up speech on the proposed state budget, here, Wednesday, said through input and donation of funds raised from stakeholders, management action plans are all set and ready for implementation next year.

Bears, elephants, monkeys, orangutans, dolphins, Sumatran rhinos, spiders, turtles and leopards are among the enlisted species.

She said these action plans have been formulated by reinforcing the action and focusing on several aspects that have been identified based on their feedback and experience implementing specific action plans before 2010. 

She hoped they can be implemented through a new approach involving all stakeholders including relevant Government departments and agencies, local and international non-governmental organisations, corporate bodies, farmers and the public at large. 

She noted that there are various challenges faced in efforts to protect wildlife, citing recent instances of elephant killings.

“The State Government through my Ministry will implement all the steps outlined in the Elephant Management Action Plan 2020-2030, but again, cooperation from all parties is essential,” she said.

For that, the Wildlife Department will continue to strive to engage with all parties especially farmers facing human – elephant conflicts to reduce losses due to crops damaged by elephants and at the same time protect elephants from injury or from being killed.

Paginatan earlier suggested that the government amend the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 by inserting provisions ‘Employee/employer are liable” to handle cases of elephant deaths in plantation areas.

She said the Enactment was amended in 2016 by raising penalties and stricter jail terms applies especially to offenders in Table 1 completely protected wildlife which includes pygmy elephants, which carries up to RM250,000 fine and not less than five years jail.

However, her Ministry is willing to amend and further tighten the penalties under the Enactment if hunting of pygmy elephants and other protected wildlife can’t be stopped.

On the proposal by Tanjung Batu for a Wildlife Park to be set up in Kalabakan, she said the Ministry does not have plans to do so at the moment. But the Ministry is willing to consider should a private party be interested in its construction and management.

She also noted that Sabah Parks has been given the responsibility to manage Pulau Sipadan beginning Dec 1 this year.

This came following the submission of the management and regulation of Pulau Sipadan and Pulau Ligitan to the State Government by the Federal Government.

This means, all revenues collected from entrance fees and diving fees will belong to the State Government, where part of it will be handed over to Sabah Parks for the islands management expenses.

In addition, a plan for management and review of Sipadan Island’s capacity limits will be formulated starting in 2020.

On the environment, she assured the Ministry will continue to implement environmental governance guided by the Sabah State Environmental Policy. 

She said in realising implementation of the policy, the State Government has recently adopted the Sabah State Environmental Policy Action Plan guidance for all government departments and agencies and all parties interested in managing environment sustainability in the country.

She said implementation of the Action Plan will assist the State in setting up organised, planned, integrated and fulfilling the global agenda of Sustainable Development Goals introduced by United Nations in 2015.

To a question raised by Sukau on the Department of Environmental Protection’s delay in processing the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the Sukau road construction project, she said the Department has received the EIA Report for the project on Sept 23, adding that a Technical Committee Meeting, attended by the project Consultant to consider the report was held on Oct 15.

“At the meeting the Consultant has been requested to submit additional information. The Department has yet to receive additional information such as human conflicts with elephants, mitigation suggestions, elephant movement safety surveys, social surveys and Balai Kito Homestay’s tourism potential from the consultants.

“The Department has requested additional information to be submitted on Nov 14. However the appointed Consultant applied for extension of time to submit the additional information on Nov 21, 2019,” she said.

She said the Department couldn’t grant the EIA approval because it has not met the standards set.

On an issue raised by Usukan, she said the Department of Environmental Protection has so far not received any complaints about cracks on villagers’ houses and bridges in Kuala Abai allegedly due to tremors caused by road construction works.

She however assured that her Ministry through the Department will conduct further investigations and take appropriate action in accordance with the Environmental Protection Enactment 2002.

She said they will submit the matter to the relevant department or agencies if it is found to be outside the Ministry’s jurisdiction.

 



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